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tv   The Dylan Ratigan Show  MSNBC  May 11, 2012 4:00pm-5:00pm EDT

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you'll want to watch that. >> i'm ready to go. >> the show starts right now. good friday afternoon to you. i'm matt miller in for dylan ratigan. today's big story, where do we stand? we're six months from election day and both sides are telling us that the other guy is the worst ever. as the mud flies, we ask ourselves, is this what it's going to be like until november? let's take a ten-day look back at the hits and misses. we start with the president in afghanistan on the anniversary of the killing of osama bin laden. democrats salute their bold decision maker while republicans charge in by positive lit sili foreign policy. president obama officially opens his campaign in ohio to an arena with thousands of empty seats.
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meanwhile, in romney world, the former governor is bizarrely trying to take credit for saving the auto industry and says obama followed his plan. is there a mormon word for hutzpah? romney said obama let the car city go bust. it's clear how dumb or amnesia ridden he thinks we are. joe biden speaks on gay marriage. >> i am very comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women are able to get all the same rights. >> let it be for me to affirm that i think same-sex couples should get married. >> i favor marriage between a man and a woman and i don't
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favor gay marriage. >> the latest poll shows romney slightly ahead, 46% to obama's 45. james carville issuing this warning earlier in the week. >> i'm saying that we have too much. i don't want to sing kble out t president here, but a lot of people have this sort of attitude that we're going to win no matter what. the republicans are raising hundreds of millions of dollars. the superpac money is just pouring in to them and the democrats are saying, oh, we're going to win this thing, and it just doesn't make any sense. >> and today in the "washington post," a front page story on mitt romney's high school life, saying he led a bullying party against a fellow classmate. now with six months to go, where are we? to answer that question, we had dana milvac of the "washington
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post" and politico's david l leventhal. david, is this what we're up to in the next six months? >> if congress did five things between now and the end of the year, even including things like eating lunch, i would be very surprised. of course, this is the time when the president tries to run against congress. nobody is expecting any serious legislative action whatsoever, and it's just, you know, lejs la lating at this point is what's done between campaign fundraisers and that's true on both sides. >> the poll is much tighter, democrats who have a lot of optimism, and maybe even a cockiness, almost. where do you think you are when you have some polls in key states really showing it to be a dead heat at this point? >> you have to understand there
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are two kind of polls. there are the tracking polls that shows 46% versus 45%, and then you look at the electoral map and you look at the swing states, states like arizona, colorado, ohio, pennsylvania, and these are states, all or most of them, that are going to be very, very difficult for mitt romney to beat barack obama in. so the challenge there is for him to try to find some way to make ground in these states where barack obama, in the polls, in those individual states that are so crucial to the outcome of the election, he's got to find a way to start making movements there. >> dana let's talk about gay marriage for a second. the big news this week. while the president has taken some slams from both sides, sort of chipping away at this, i thought this was a really important moment. the white house has said they are going to do this at some point even before the democratic convention, the fact he stepped in, led his prestige and authority, described it as a
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personal journey he came to, i think this is going to end up playing well for him. what's your take? >> you know, matt, a lot of conservatives are saying, maybe this whole thing was orchestrated. maybe it was a deliberate plot by joe biden to get this thing moving. because, in fact, the reviews have been pretty good and it's worked out faisvorably, i don't believe joe biden planned any such thing, it's just not the way joe biden works. it does appear the president has taken an issue that was hurting him to the extent it made him look indecisive, it made him look deceptive in a way, he wasn't giving his point of view. at least now he gave his point of view. yes, he may risk hurting some independent votes out there, but more than likely he will compensate for that by rallying his own base, by rallying young voters, and perhaps most importantly, rallying some koey fundraisers.
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>> when you look at the polls generational generationally, you see how this isn't even an issue. when i talked to my 15-year-old daughter, she said, what's the argument against it? it's tied so much in public opinion, and when you see the obama campaign with their slogan, forward, maybe adopted a little bit by msnbc's lean forward, but the idea that something is forward-looking on the democratic side versus romney seeming to be kind of caught in the past, i think that's going to have resonance. what do you think? >> maybe so, but you kind of seize on a big problem that barack obama has, which is really engaging young voters. he did this master ffully in 20. yet you're seeing the arenas, you alluded to it before, there are empty seats all over the place. the magic is gone a little bit, and as a result of that, he's going to have to find issues, whether it is speaking out about gay marriage, whether it is speaking about tuition like he
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has on college campuses all around the country that really resonate with younger people who will go out, who will be advocates for him, who will be surrogates in their towns and cities and college campuses, and absent that, that could spell a little bit of trouble for him if he doesn't recap toture that. >> dana, talk about dick luger. he lost the senator primary this week. he was a very conservative senator, but he was someone who could work in a bipartisan way. what do you think the significance of that is? he gave a scorching, you know, concession speech saying that the senate and washington are really broken, and more shock, the guy who is now going to be carrying the republican flag for indiana into the election says what we need is more partisanship in washington. >> right, he's saying we need more confrontation and less collegiality. as someone who covers this place every day, that's exactly what we don't need around here.
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you're right, luger was pretty much a mainstream conservative. the purges that have been going on in the republican party have less to do with idealogy than getting rid of the people who dare to wish to work with the republic democratic party. the thing david luger was working on with democrats was keeping the world safe from nuclear weapons. so if they don't want to cooperate on this, it leaves a depressing feeling that things are going to get a whole lot worse in this town than better. >> we'll leave it on that note. dave leventhal from politico, thank you for giving us into the weekend briefing today. we'll be back to you guys soon. >> thank you. ahead in this hour, barack obama's huge fundraising hall and the republicans trying to cash in. stock prices at the nation's biggest bank take a big hit. what that means for you and why washington isn't stopping risky
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it was this town's hottest ticket last night. the president joined forces with george clooney and a host of other hollywood celebrities to raise a record $15 million last night at one dinner. republicans were quick to pounce on the president's a-list
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soiree. they said, while he's noshing with notablenotables, courting celebrities, and soliciting stars, the middle class is being squeezed. let's bring in our mega panel known only by their first names. mega panel celebrities. let me start with you, krystal. the idea that republicans are picking on obama for hanging out with celebrities, obviously this is something both parties have to do because they can raise the money they need to raise and not need the public financing to do it, right? >> i don't know what the big deal is, romney has celebrity endorsers, too. jeff foxworthy. they tried this attack back in 2008. the president obviously was able to overcome it. it's kind of pathetic to me that this is the best they can do
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right now. >> the idea that they're putting out these illiterative press releases, it reminds you of nepotism. the thing that interested me the most was the two ralph winners. the obama campaign has promoting this average american donor could go to dinner with the president, and two ordinary americans that won the raffle got to go to clooney's house last night and be a part of it. both of them interestingly brought their husbands with them even though they were going to george clooney's house. what do you make of that? >> i don't make anything of that. they understandably probably know they won't walk away with george clooney as their date. romney takes away from rich and famous people as well, and anything we can do to get away from the bullying story. just say anything at all, because that story speaks to his
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character, and it's far more damaging than the president hob-nobing with george clooney and people like that. >> would you rather talk about bullying or hollywood celebrities? pick your favorite insight that you'd like to share this morning. >> i've always been a clooney person so that's where i come down. >> ari never passes on a chance to talk about george clooney. >> when the staff mailed us this story, i took a look at the white house visiting logs, and clooney has been at the white house about five times since obama was elected. it's about the same number as oprah, less than some business executives, more than the vast majority of people and donors. so if we want to take this seriously, putting aside whatever hypocrisy the presidents have, the power increases. so with the superpacs that a lot of people are critical of, and with people that wield so much
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power, they have more influence. then the second question you have to ask again, if you want to take it seriously, is what comes of that? i actually am less concerned about what i would call loyal supporters of either party doing fundraising for someone they already agree with as opposed to the business interests or other interest groups that want to actually distort or push the process. but again, that's not policy difference, that's just a how does it feel? what's the flavor? and i think the flavor of a lot of celebrities is less concerning than, as i said, some of the other things. >> at the very least, this is disclosed. at the very least, there is some transparency around it, unlike so much of the money that's in politics these days. >> although i tell you, krystal, and you've run for office yourself, the backing for this at the presidential level which was the one place it had any traction has been kind of blown to shreds because both of them realize there is so much money
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available and it's only a rational choice if you're trying to win. do you see any prospect on getting traction by bringing public financing back to the system somehow? not this year, but in the next four years? >> i don't think it's ever going to happen if we rely on politicians to put it in place. i think if we have a grassroots effort where people get upset about it, i think it's absolutely possible. the super pacs has got people on both sides of the aisle very upset and concerned about campaign finance. i'm an optimist, and i think we can build a movement around this. >> let's turn to a story that proves anything can happen in politics. it comes from a tiny mountain town in italy where an italian man has become mayor by accident. fabio borsati only ran as a favor to his friend who was worried the town wouldn't have a vote. he did, and borsati won against
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his pal. only his father, brother, sister and mother voted for the other guy. you've studied this issue closely. this is one of those bizarre tales where in the democratic process anything can happen, right? >> sure. i did spend a lot of time in italy, a little tiny town on the west edge. ultimately this is a town of something like 500 people. the mayor typically has another job and not the mayor all the time, so they'll be fine. it will be interesting to see if a non-politician doing the job will be more effective than a politico doing the job. >> ari, it sounds like borsati is going to try to focus on tourism. this is a town with only 700 or 800 people, so this is really a small republic, if you will, in northern italy. it looks like borsati and his pal are going to remain friends. what do you think of that?
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>> i don't have much on this issue, but when women lag in politics, one of the things you see over and over is that the people who run for office most often are self-nominated. that's the first thing. there's money and all the hurdles we know of, but one of the things is culture and type and people who feel they should run, so this is a situation where you see you get nominated or you're pushed into it, and it's kind of cool. >> wait, it's kind -- >> your with it and cynicism were lost on me, but i do want to give krystal a chance to comment on it. >> i wanted to say it's kind of cool that masculine misappropriation of this ego is cool? >> what's cool is if you throw your hat in the ring, anything can happen. it's cool for more people to get involved. >> like matt brought up, the
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other guy was good spirited about it and was like, oh, i hope he does a good job. >> i think we need more women in our politics and have more balance at a gender level and not just let all these men who look in the mirror and think they can be the next president or the next prime minister. they keep throwing themselves in even if they shouldn't be in the race. >> i'm back and i can hear you guys, and i just want to congratulate the mega panel for being self-moderating. you could do this automatically, so -- >> we've been saying that all along, matt. >> now we've done the i empiric test. take us to the bigger picture on this small town. are there bigger lessons to be drawn about friendship and the meaning of life from what can happen when the best intentions lead to these unintended consequences? >> sure. there's a lot of talk, a lot of empty talk in this country about bridging the divides, but we all know we have a very kind of
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nasty political process and we've had that since our founding, quite honestly. but there are a lot of other countries that have different political cultures, and sorry to the american exceptionalists out there, but we can learn something from other people who approach other things. there are countries in europe who have famously had husbands and wives in the same parliament and sometimes running against each other for positions, and in america people talk about how that might be a bad thing, is it loyal to the family. yeah, friends could run against each other, win or lose, and there is no sense tllhere woulde a toxicity just on one campaign. >> i would be furious if i ran for office and my mom, my sister, my dad didn't vote for me. you're out of the house! >> even if you were standing in for a friend and you didn't even want to win? >> no. you still have to vote for me. >> there is more to explore in this story, so i'm sure we'll be following this closely. the self-automated mega panel stays. up next, big blanank, big
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blunder. they're trying to explain $2 million gone wrong. why the president isn't bringing wall street to justice. i'm going to read one of these. i'm going to read one of these! [ female announcer ] unlike sprays and dust rags, swiffer 360 dusters extender gets into hard to reach places so you can get unbelievable dust pick up in less time. i love that book! can you believe the twin did it? ♪ [ female announcer ] swiffer. great clean in less time. or your money back. ♪ more than 50 times a day? so brighten your smile a healthy way with listerine® whitening plus restoring rinse. it's the only rinse that makes your teeth two shades whiter and two times stronger. ♪ listerine® whitening... power to your mouth. it's showtime for savings. excuse me, sir, how much are you charging for your popcorn? $4.00. $4.00.
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developing news this afternoon. the nation's biggest bank, jp morgan, dropped more than 9% and took bank stocks around the globe on a wild ride today after revealing it lost nearly $2 billion -- that's billion with a b -- on risky bets. it could lead an additional billion in coming weeks. they talked about being poorly monitored and bad judgment. they said they'll fix it and move on. shockingly, lawmakers not convinced and say the big banks need tighter regulation. >> this recent $2 billion loss should remind them not just of the language of the law but what the dangers are of not having some restrictions on proprietary
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bets by banks. >> yet even with today's evidence of a taxpayer bad casino run amok, at this point america may be powerless at bringing wall street to justice. joining us now is peter schweitzer who asks, why can't obama bring wall street to justice? what should we think about the latest news given your argument about how the feds have really failed to hold wall street account for the whole financial mess? >> i think it means business as usual. look, there have been a lot of promises made about new regulatory regimes that are going to change the rules and make things better. the fact of the matter is the people on wall street, they're very clever. they find ways around regulatory regime, so they've done that over the past 20 years. i think it means business as usual. i think that rather than trying to create a new regulatory regime, we need to decide that if firms are too big to fail,
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they're too big and they need to be broken up. because otherwise, we're simply inviting trouble and we're inviting a situation where we, the taxpayers, are going to have to bail these guys out. >> peter, i want to play for you -- we have some sound and video where david gregory from "meet the press" pretaped an interview with jamie dimon the other day, so this is before the news broke of this $2 billion loss. i want you to hear what jamie d dimon had to say. he'll be doing a post-interview to update the story, but look at the way he cast this before this news broke. >> you know, wall street is at the epicenter. i blame both of them on the policies and procedures. you start to blame every single bank and politician. no, that's not true. >> the idea he was talking about, it's been wrong to blame every single banker, that the culture has been hard on banking. that seems a little stale, doesn't it? >> it sure does. i think there is a small grain of truth in what he's saying in
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that not everybody on wall street is making these risky bets, not everybody on wall street is frankly breaking the law by committing fraud. but the reality is that at a lot of the big firms, this has been kind of a practice, and the reality is, you know, even with the new regulatory regime in place with dodd/frank, for example, what you're really doing is regulating everybody. you're not really taking individuals who broke the law, who committed crimes, and actually holding them accountable for what they did. >> krystal ball has a question. >> this is krystal, peter. i really respect your opinion very much. you wrote a book called "makers and takers, why conservatives work harder, feel happier, have closer families, take fewer drugs, give more generously, honor honesty more and even hug their children more than liberals. you're an editor for a website,
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you're an adviser to sarah palin. frankly, aren't you part of the problem with washington, too, and why should we take what you have to say seriously when you have such a partisan idealogical history? >> i don't think i have a partisan, idealogical history in regard to the ideas that i embrace. the book title that you mentioned, for example, i would encourage you, krystal, to read the last chapter. that book was written in sort of a response to a lot of articles that had come out saying liberals are jeanetgenetically r than conservatives, and i was trying to show the absurdity to that kind of argument, that i believe you should evaluate people on their ideas. >> who says liberals are genetically smarter than conservatives? >> that's hardly the only book you've written in this vein. it was written in response to do as i say, not as i do. i have looked at that, as a matter of fact. >> and what did i talk about -- >> and the makers and takers
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book, basically you're arguing that conservatives are somehow superior than liberals and us versus the mentality that i think is very damaging to the country. >> let's give him a last word, but let's unite across the spectrum against banking problems. last word on this, peter. >> i think you should actually read the book, krystal. in the do as i say, not as i do book, i talk about hypocrisy goes across political lines. i felt that it was ignored by the media, but i held everybody in the count, and on the makers and takers, as i said, read the last chapter. you're looking at the title and coming to these conclusions. i outline all the books and the articles that had been put out in the media about how liberals were a lot smarter than conservatives, and i was simply trying to say that approach of sort of personalizing attacks is a ridiculous way of looking at politics. we ought to look at the ideas and merits rather than trying to
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demonize. so i would encourage you to read the introductions in those books before -- >> i did read them, and i think profiles of legal hypocrisy in the country is n-- title is not helpful to the country. >> i'm really intrigued by the idea of you being the foreign policy adviser to sarah palin? clearly there was a glitch in the matrix there between you and her. either she failed to listen to you or you failed to do your job. what made it so hard to be the foreign policy adviser to sarah palin? >> no, it was a very good and positive experience. and we espouse in foreign policies, if you read it, and read the speeches that she gave, i think are very reagan-esque. we had serious problems, as you can imagine, with the internationalist's views in the
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barack obama administration, but it was a very good experience for me. i'm not working with her anymore, but i think that we helped shape the debate, because frankly, i think we are, and i do think we have to look for american principles and protect american values. >> question? >> sure. when you look at the campaign, obviously there's been a lot of different issues out there, but both candidates are saying they want to get back and get the economy growing, and in some sense -- at least aspects of what you touched upon, your main interest is in the size of the banks and not necessarily regulatory regime. is there anything that you think would help deal with this sec senator. >> you have candidates who are interested in the status quo. they recognize a large portion of fundraising from both
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candidates comes from whether it's banks or wall street firms, and they're going to have a hard time so both of them are going to be status quo reagans. . it's in a wreck not because governme government. it's basically a form of socialism for wall street that says, any time that you make a mistake or become. and you threatened the integrity of the. we're going to bail her out and you're going to suffer greatly because of it. you can't have that that's not.
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thank you for those views as well as defending the sbifr rest of your life. thanks to our self-regulated, self-moderating interrogatory mega panel. as i mentioned also, david gregory sitting down with jamie dimon to talk about that $2 billion loss. coming up, the media isn't so certain after all. [ captain ] sorry folks, our landing time got moved back another hour.
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nation knew something we different. the national geographic have uncovered a small city in the town of sheltun of calculations on the walls dating to the 19th century. it suggests thousands of years into the future, well beyond 2012, debunking the popular myth that the world would end because one mayan calendar ended this year. as one researcher put it, we keep looking for endings. the maya were looking for a guarantee that nothing would change. it's an entirely different mindset. the scientists are particularly excited about a new mural depicting a violent scene about a king. shouldn't living to another spring be the most exciting part there? coming up, why we do what we do. biology unlocking new secrets, and we'll let you in. that's next. [ horns honking ]
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>> that's the oscar-winning work of helen hunt and jack nicholson in "as good as it gets" asking the age-old question, why can't we just be normal? our next guest says we'll never know what being normal even means because there are no clear lines between what's normal and what's not. with us now is psychiatrist and harvard professor jordan smaller. he's author of "the other side of normal, how biology is providing clues to unlock the secrets of normal and abnormal behavior." welcome, jordan. tell us how you got into this. the frame of the book is to think about mental illness or abnormality, you first have to be much more clear on what you mean by normal. talk about that. >> that's right. one of the fascinating things about normal is we talk about it all the time. we often don't have a clear definition in mind. sometimes people mean the absence of something normal which is not all that helpful. one of the things that motivated me to write this book was this
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increasing realization that we need to start with a basic map of how the brain and the mind work to understand mental illness, to demistify it. what you said, there are no sharp bright lines between normal and abnormal. >> so can you give us an example of an area of behavior people could relate to that would help them understand what that slippery line is? and also, is this stuff that's been discovered because of the advances and the pet scans and mris and the different brain m imaging we can now do? >> well, yeah, let me give you a perfect example. fear and anxiety. it's something we all experience, it's part of our human nature, and that's because our brains evolved to be able to detect danger and to avoid harm. and that's -- you know, it's so fundamental that we have circuits in the brain, and as you say, using brain imaging we
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can now look at those circuits in action. what happens when somebody has an anxiety disorder and we're talking about phobia and panic disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, these systems have gone into overdrive, and that can have devastating effects. but my point, i guess, is we need to sort of understand how these things work if we're going to understand how to define them, how to draw any kind of boundary between what's excessive and what isn't, and there are many examples of this in the book, but we see that there isn't really this clear line. that's, of course, what makes it difficult and very controversial when psychiatry tries to define what psychiatric disorders are, and as you may know in the news these days, there is a lot of debate about that because the field is revising its manual of how we understand those lines. >> yeah, i've read some of the debates on that, and i think this happens every x number of
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years where psychiatry officially updates these kind of definitions, encyclopedia, almost, of disorders. what's one of the big controversies now that you think your book sheds light on? >> well, i think that, you know, what the current definitions boil down to is sort of the consensus of experts. we try our best given what we know to draw a boundary between what causes somebody suffering, what causes somebody impairment. that's really the line that defines many psychiatric disorders. but one of the things that we're seeing as we look to advances in brain science and genetics, many of these incredibly exciting advances we're seeing is that we can understand how some of these disorders emerge from systems that we all have in the brain. autism is a very controversial area now, and, in fact, one of the controversies has been how strictly to draw that line. i can't say that my book answers the question exactly where to
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place that line because, in fact, one of the points is that there isn't a bright line. we will make judgments ultimately on our best knowledge about what makes sense to consider a diagnosis. there are many considerations that go into that. but for us to be on solid ground in understanding what kinds of things we call disorders, we need to start with kind of the basic map of how the brain and the mind work. and what's exciting is that we're actually starting to fill that picture in. we're starting to get a sketch of how that works, and it provides some surprising clues to behaviors that might have seemed odd but now we see grow out of things we all use to navigate everyday life. >> what's an example of that, things that might have seemed odd but are just an adjustment of these evolution amerihe have that psychology might suggest.
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>> at least one is getting back to the area of autism. we certainly don't know all the causes of autism or exact ly wht the disorder saul about. we are learning something about the genetics of it. but one area where there is some impairment is the understanding of what are other people thinking and feeling? it's something psychologists call a theory of mind. at some point in your childhood, you developed the understanding that other people have their own beliefs and thoughts that are different from yours. and that's a crucial function. it's so crucial that we have circuits in the brain that are dedicated to this kind of social cognition, as we call it. and we can see there is variation in the general population along a spectrum, the extreme end of which is what we call autism. again, this is only a part of t but it starts to makes sense of what one of the core aspects of this condition, which is devastating to many people,
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where it might emerge from. >> you talk also about the nature of empathy in the book as well. what have we learned about the nature of empathy, and i guess the spectrum is sort of from normal, healthy empathy toward, i guess, a sociopath and the kind of criminals who either understand others or can put themselves in their place but don't care about others as human objects. >> that's right. one of the fascinating things about empathy is, first of all, when you talk about the extreme of a lack of empathy, a psychopath, somebody like ted bundy comes to mind. what seems to be going on, and again, we're just starting to crack the surface of this, but it's intriguing that there seem to be circuits in the brain that are really involved and are understanding other people's pain and identifying and resonating with it. if that connection to other people's feelings are missing,
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and you put that together with somebody who has, various reaso reasons, you get somebody who maybe can understand other people's feelings but doesn't have that connection. one of the reasons we learn not to hurt other people and to empathize is that we, to some extent, feel their pain, and that's abversive. if you don't have that break on behavior, that can be a problem. again, we see a full spectrum and we see some of these traits throughout our society. when they get to be the extreme, we recognize this as something that can be a real problem. >> just one minute left, jordan. it's mother's day this weekend. i know you talk in the book about the importance of the mother/child bond and how that sets psychology, human psychology, on the course for a lifetime. what do people need to understand about that so they can thank their mothers this weekend? >> absolutely. the mother/child bond -- and
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really, we should broaden that to the caregiver/child bond is enormously important. part of what we know is early in life when moms and babies or caregiv caregivers and babies start to connect, there are biological changes that go on that can program how our approach to the world is, how our relationships end up being. and when there is a safe and nurturing environment, it sets a course for healthy relationships. when there is real adversity or toxic stress, the child's brain is sort of placing bets on what the world is going to be like at that early stage, and if the world seems to be a dangerous place, that can set the course in a different direction. so we thank our moms for everything they've done for us, but certainly for providing that kind of love and nurture. >> jordan smoller. the book is "the other side of normal." the perfect mother's day gift, right? thanks for taking the time to share she's insights today.
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>> thanks so much. >> coming up on "hardball," bringing in record bucks. chris has the story. toure has the daily rant. that's next. we have product x and we have product y. we are going to start with product x.
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the only thing i'll let you know is that it is an, affordable product. oh, i like that. let's move on to product y, which is a far more expensive product. whoaaa. i don't care for that at all. yuck. you picked x and it was geico car insurance and y was the competitor. is that something you would pay for year after year? i, i like soda a lot but for a change of pace... because we want to show them something new. you guys ready? yea! let's go go go! walmart can now convert your favorite dvds from disc to digital. no kidding. cool. ♪ now you can watch them on your laptop, tablet, phone... any time, anywhere. like here. or here. or here! psshew! watch movies anywhere! the best part is it's only two bucks per disc. cool. that's the walmart entertainment disc to digital service. see for yourself. bring in your favorite dvds to your local walmart photo center to get started.
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toure is back in new york with the daily rant. the floor is yours. >> when joe biden was out on the skis talking about marriage equality, he talked about something on the nbc show "will and grace" that sounds a little wacky. >> i think will and grace did
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something to educate the american public more than anybody has done so far. >> could it be that will and grace helped change the world? as andrew sullivan says, the key to the gay rights movement is the normalization of gay rights, getting us to see that gay and regular marriage is really no different. we've long known that being friends with gay people is a strong predictor of supporting gay rights. but you don't have to actually know gay people to get to that. let me explain why. the mind doesn't totally distinguish between real and imagined events. that's why you can read a good book or watch an intense movie and feel like you're immersed with the feeling they present with your heart racing. andrew sullivan found that knowing gay people via tv has the same impact as watching gay
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people in real life. it's called parasocial interaction. tv is such a medium in your home while you relax, that when we allow gay people inside our home like will and grace or the rachel maddow show, then we're having the illusion of a positive face to face interaction and the less problem you have with them. tv has been incredibly influential for gay people who have become like friends in our head and changed the way we see gays forever. the vice president said tv has made us more comfortable with homosexuality, but he might not be wrong. who says vice presidents can't change the world? >> i'd say biden hasn't caught up with his tv watching because he could have talked about m
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modern family, he could have talked about smash. but you say the media is usually a pillar for debasing the conversation. here it's really an example of doing something that makes a difference. >> that's absolutely right. the proliferation of normalized gay people just being part of society on television is absolutely helping america. i mean, it's interesting that the vice president picked out will and grace because the study pointed out will and grace as a major factor in forwarding these relationships. didn't talk about "modern family," didn't talk about the ellen show. talked about "queer eye for the straight guy," "six feet under" and "will and grace." it made me think he had more of a plan leading to his gaffe than we were led to believe. >> because his daughter is openly gay, it's totally
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unrealistic for him for some time. it's not like he's having parasocial interaction with his daughter, but it's the interaction that matters. >> he knows his daughter is a wonderful person, and he knows being gay doesn't make you a bad person. >> toure, insightful as always. ma the media making a contribution after all. hollywood producers and writers portraying relationships that work. that's going to do it for us today. i'm matt miller in for dylan ratigan. up next, "hardball with chris matthews" starts right now. hooray for hollywood. this is "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in

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